4 Common Dental Concerns for Children

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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Your child should visit the dentist at the first sign of teeth and have regular cleanings to ensure a happy, healthy smile for life! Below are some common concerns we see in children.

  1. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

You can help prevent your baby from getting cavities or developing what is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay by beginning an oral hygiene routine within the first few days after birth. Start by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean cloth. This will helps removes plaque that can harm new, erupting teeth.

Once your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. A small amount, the size of a grain of rice is plenty.

For bottle feedings, use only formula, milk or breast milk inside and avoid using sugary beverages like juice and soda. Avoid putting a baby to sleep with a bottle.

  1. Dental Emergencies

As you know, accidents are not something you schedule into your day. They can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to take your child to the dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.

Here are some tips if your child experiences a common dental emergency:

  • For a knocked-out tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your child’s cheek and gum, or in milk. Call Dr. Petellin right away.
  • For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.
  • If your child bites his tongue or lip, clean the area gently and apply a cold compress.
  • For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Avoid placing aspirin on the tooth or gums.
  • For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.
  1. Thumbsucking

Thumb and pacifier sucking is a very common and natural reflex in infants and young children. It can help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck that after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency of this habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. If you are worried about your child’s sucking habits, talk to Dr. Petellin about your concerns.

  1. Sealants

Sealants are a fast and easy way of protecting your child’s teeth that act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves. Sealing a tooth is fast and painless. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing but may have to be reapplied if needed. Ask your Dr. Petellin if sealants will help your child.

If you are concerned about your child’s dental health, contact our office and schedule you next visit.